Why Should You Buy A Drawing Tablet And 8 Models to Check Out
A drawing tablet is something you can make great use of whether you’re are an experienced artist or just starting.
Picking the right model, however, is not an easy task: several factors come into consideration.
You have to figure out what kind of drawing tablet to get. Maybe it’s a standalone model that comes with robust features and works without a computer, or it might be something beginner-friendly under $100.
Perhaps it’s an iPad that you can travel with and use as a workstation when you are not drawing.
There are dozens of brands in the market, all of them promising powerful features, and a smooth user experience at a reasonable price point. But what makes a brand unique and trustworthy? Which is one of them is the right fit for you?
We are about to show you what exactly you need to look for, plus you’ll see 8 models for different skillsets and purposes.
Reputable Brands on The Market
Wacom needs no introduction. The Japanese behemoth is considered to be the pioneer of drawing tablets.
They were established exactly 38 years ago, on July 12, 1983. A little less than a decade later, in 1992, they came out with the Compaq Concerto, in collaboration with Compaq.
It was essentially the predecessor of the tablet: “a 2 in 1 laptop” with a detachable keyboard and a screen that you could with a stylus pen, once you removed the keyboard.
In the next few years, the brand started to skyrocket. Wacom’s global market share went from 70% in 2005 to a staggering 99% in 2010.
Still, to this day, they are pushing the envelope and continuously coming up with innovative solutions.
Reliability and sophisticated craftsmanship describe their products the best. If you buy from them, expect premium quality: their tablets offer higher LPIs, better responsiveness, and more advanced features.
Their only pain point is their pricing: Wacom tablets tend to be more expensive, than other options.
With that said, they sell many reasonable-priced options and the money you spend on them is more like an investment rather than an expense.
XP-pen is a Japanese graphic tablet manufacturer that was founded in 2005.
Ten years later, in 2015, XP-Pen Technology Co. was founded in the U.S. The same year, their first office was opened in Shenzhen, China.
In 2019, they became a subsidiary of the Hanvon Ugee Group (another well-known brand in the graphic tablet space), and they began to expand their global marketing efforts.
With their tablets, they aim to leave behind the limitations of traditional drawing tools and make their customers discover the possibilities of digital art.
As we mentioned, the Hanvon Ugee Group is the parent company of XP Pen.
While their subsidiary markets to professionals artists, Ugee aims to appeal to those who are just starting their journey.
The tablets they manufacture, in most cases, are under $100, and they come with several extra accessories, which makes their product even a better value.
Gaomon or Gaomon Technology Corporation is a privately-owned Chinese company that has been around since 2011.
In September 2016, they entered the international market with the GAOMON A56K, which quickly sold out on Amazon.
Their tablets are known for their reasonable pricing and functionality.
Yet another Chinese drawing tablet manufacturer. Huion was founded in 2011 by a man named Henry Xu in Shenzhen, China.
They quickly became a global brand and today, they are considered a major player in their industry.
Although their tablets have good overall quality and chances are, you can stress them for multiple years to come, a brand like Wacom beats them in several areas.
What to Look for In A Drawing Tablet
The Overall User Experience
This may be the most important factor you need to take into account before you make that purchase.
Of course, it’s much more difficult to determine that when shopping online, but still, it’s worth paying attention to, and checking the customer reviews might give you some guidance.
What you can do is, you could think about:
how often will you use the tablet
what environment you’ll be using it in
what are your needs and what do you like drawing on
Additionally, you can check out what are materials the tablet is made of.
The high-end, standalone drawing monitors are equipped with a high-resolution screen that’s made out of glass, whereas the regular drawing tablets use plastic as their primary material and you can find some paper-like models, too.
Size & Drawing Area
There is no need to explain size, it speaks for itself, and the drawing area is the place where you’ll be using your pen.
Drawing is a lot more convenient on tablets that have a large working area, however, that makes them less portable.
There are smaller models, with quite substantial drawing space as well, which means the two are not mutually exclusive.
Pressure sensitivity or pen sensitivity is when the drawing tablet determines how thick or thin the lines you’re drawing, based on the pressure you put on your pen.
It ranges typically from 1024 to 8192. Tablets with pressure levels on the upper end of the spectrum are perfect if the illustrations you work with require a lot of precision and accuracy – otherwise, you most likely won’t see the difference.
RPS (Report Rate)
Your tablet and the laptop or computer you’re using are connected. Each second, the tablet transmits a signal or a “report” or your pen’s movement to the computer – that’s called RPS or Report Rate.
It is quite an important factor, and it has an impact on the overall quality of your illustrations.
Ultimately, you should opt for a model with a high RPS, but you should also keep in mind that the higher the RPS is, the longer it takes for your computer to recognize your pen’s movement.
The resolution of a drawing tablet is, for the most part, measured in LPI, which stands for lines per inch. It tells you how many dots or digital lines could fit into 1 inch of the tablet’s working area.
The Ugee M708, a tablet you can get for $57, comes with a 5080 LPI, which is perfectly enough for both beginners and professional use.
There are multiple different styluses or drawing pens you can choose from.
First off, you have the battery-powered styluses. These ones are heavier and bulkier than their battery-free counterparts, so if you need to work for a long period of time or just simply have smaller hands, these types of pens may not be the best for you.
Then, there are the new, EMR or electromagnetic styluses. Essentially, what happens is the tablet transfers the power to the wirelessly, which means you do not have to charge it.
On top of that, EMR pens, are thinner and a lot lighter – working with one will be much more comfortable.
There is a pretty high chance that the tablet you’re about to purchase is compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux.
Depending on the brand and model chose, you’ll either have to manually install the drivers or they’ll be all ready installed for you.
If you have to do it on your own, the user manual will explain how to do it or you can just simply google it.
And it doesn’t end there: the major brands make their tablets iOS and Android compatible. To bring you an example, the Wacom Intuos tablets allow you to connect them to phones with Android 6.0+ through an OTG adapter.
While the majority of the drawing tablets only offer USB support, and they are meant to be used with a computer or another electronic device, there are some tablets such as standalone models that come with wireless (Bluetooth) connection.
The wireless support comes especially handy when you’re traveling and need something portable that you can make illustrations on – plus, with a wireless tablet, you don’t have to worry about cable management.
Certain tablets come with additional accessories in the box. These are:
extra pen nib replacements
digital art gloves / anti-fouling gloves
In some instances, you’ll even get an illustration or photo editing software. The Wacom Intuos S, for example, comes with 2-year access to Clip Studio Paint Pro or you can try out Corel Painter Essentials 8 & Corel AfterShot Pro for 90 days.
Budget-Friendly Tablets for Beginners
Wacom Intuos S
An entry-level model you can get well under $100. Its 7.8 by 6.3” size and 6.0 by 3.7” drawing area make it ideal for those who have a smaller desk.
The Intuos S is quite lightweight, only a little over 8 ounces, which means you can carry it with you, pull it out and create illustrations on the go.
You’ll also find 4 fully customizable express keys, on the tablet and it can be configured for both left- and right-handed use.
It comes with a standard USB connection and it is compatible with all the major operating systems including Android (6.0+).
Moreover, a software is included in the package: you can choose either a 2-year Clip Studio Paint Pro license or a 90-day Corel Painter Essentials 8 & AfterShot trial.
All and all, for what you’re getting, it is definitely worth the price.
Huion Inspiroy H1060P
Compared to the Intuos S, the Huion 1060P boasts a larger size and overall drawing area (10 by 6.25 inches), which is its main selling point.
As for pricing, it’s less than $70 on Amazon, and for that, you’ll get:
8192 level pressure sensitivity
266PPS report rate
12 press keys and 16 soft keys
A battery-free, RMS pen
± 60-degree brush tilting support
Windows, Mac, and Android 6.0+ compatibility
In this price range, you won’t find tablets with this type of functionality: a Wacom tablet with similar features would easily cost you $100-$150 more.
The 1060Plus is a great value and it is a tablet meant for people who work with larger monitors.
One of the most inexpensive options you’ll find on the market. Its biggest strength is the relatively large drawing area and the 8912 pressure level battery-free stylus.
It offers a 266 PPS Report Rate, a 5080LPI resolution and it works with most of the poplar drawing softwares.
Made for Pros
Wacom Intuos Pro
This one of Wacom’s best-known models. It’s built for those who already have experience with drawing tablets and something that comes with reliability and top-notch quality.
The Intuos Pro excels in both areas. If you choose this tablet, it’ll stay with you for quite a while – it is known for its durability.
It supports wireless connection via Bluetooth, has a touch wheel, 8 customizable express keys, and of course, all the features that a drawing tablet offers.
The price is well above $300, almost 4x as much as the Huion H1060P, but if you are serious about creating artwork, the Intuos Pro will be a great choice.
Huion Kamvas 20
Wacom Mobile Studio Pro 13"
The 2nd gen Wacom Mobile Studio Pro series is the league of its own: judging by its hardware (Intel i7-8559U processor, 16 GB RAM, and a 512GB SSD), it would make it a decent Windows PC.
Listing its features would require a whole new blog post, so here’s our takeaway.
If you purchase this tablet, you don’t have to compromise on anything – you’re getting the best of the best.
Microsoft Surface Pro X
Clean, minimalist design and a long-lasting battery – that’s the Surface Pro X if we had to summarize it in one sentence.
You’re getting a 2280 x 1920 multi-touch screen paired with the Microsoft SQ1 CPU for better performance. It quickly transforms from a laptop to a tablet and the Surface Slim Pen provides an exceptional drawing experience.
Apple iPad Pro 2021 11” 128GB
Who said you can’t use an iPad as a drawing tablet? The robust hardware and the Liquid Retina Display make it perfect for artistic use.
It’s not just a drawing tablet, it is a powerful computer that can be transformed into a workstation. It comes with the new Apple M1 and you can configure your model with either 8 or 16 gigabytes of RAM, to make sure it can handle any task.
There are countless drawing apps available for iPad including Photoshop, Illustrator, Procreate, and more.
The 2nd-gen Apple Pencil, which you’ll have to purchase separately, allows for more accuracy and precision, so you can create detailed illustrations with ease.
When shopping for a drawing tablet, you are flooded with options. All the models claim to be “the best with the most functionality”.
Getting into it, researching all the options, and determining which one worth it can be time-consuming – to say the least.
With this guide, our goal was to make the process easier. After reading it, you’ll be able to choose the tablet that works for you and equipped with all the features you need.
Which tablet would you buy? Is there anything we missed? Let us know in the comment section.
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